Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day 12 - Oreos a la Leche (Guest Post)

Check back for more recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies!

It's the last day of the 12 Days of Cookies and I'm doing something a little different. My husband, Ben, keeps asking to do a guest post for this. So without further ado, here he is!

It's the holidays. There is nothing better than making cookies during the holidays. Except for maybe writing blog posts for your wife's awesome blog as a guest writer! Seriously though, I almost ran out of things to write about after my quippy intro just there, but I think I can pull through and provide some cogent banter to make up for the lack of my wife's wonderful literary talents.

Speaking of my wonderful wife, let me tell you about her commitment to her 12 Days of Cookies. She has taken on this task every single year for the last few years, and has created an incredible array of baked goods that have personally contributed to at least two torn pants and a popped seem. I LOVE this time of year, for a lot of reasons, but one of those reasons is because the smell of those cookies fills the room and the taste is (usually) incomparable to anything store bought.

In sum, I love this time of year because of my wife. She makes the holiday season into what it is. Without her I would probably be alone, in a plain, boring room eating store bought crap that was designed to last for eternity (shout out to that Ramen!). So, a college student, really.

Because of all she does for me and our two "feral" boys, I really thought she deserved a break from the stress and sacrifice of putting out these incredible recipes day in and day out. Therefore, I present to you my recipe for a tasty cookie treat that may or may not tickle your fancy, but will definitely take some of the pressure off of my wife and maybe make her smile. And what other goal in life would I ever have than making the love of my life smile as often as possible?

Here it is:

Oreo a la Leche

  • 1 or 2 sleeves of Oreos
  • (okay, 1 sleeve of Oreos so your significant other doesn't get mad at you)
  • 1 glass of milk (whole milk preferred, 1% is minimally acceptable, skim milk is not meant for this kind of consumption or any human consumption really)
  • 1 spoon, of a bigger size but not like a serving spoon, (have some semblance of self control, dang it!)

Preheat your Netflix to something enjoyable, say like a nice hallmark Christmas movie, or a tv show, Daredevil, or Parks and Rec. Keep it light and airy.

Place Oreos in an empty cup or mug, the bigger the better. I've been known to get 9 whole Oreos into the cup.

Pour milk over the Oreos until all cookies are covered and drowning in the sweet creamy goodness of your whole milk.

Grab a spoon and treat yo self to a roller coaster ride of chocolatey cream filled decadence, soaked through with milky goodness that even Tom Haverford would approve of. Makes half a serving, so go ahead and add another sleeve of cookies...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Day 11 - Caramel Almond Brownies

Check back for more recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies!

Ok, so technically brownies aren't cookies (if that's the case, where do cookie bars fall?), but I love these and decided to include them this year anyway. These have the added benefit of being easy-I'm taking the shortcut and starting with a boxed mix (gasp! I know...).  If you made this caramel sauce for this recipe, or this recipe, you won't have to make it either!

Caramel Almond Brownies

  • Brownie mix (I love the Ghirardelli Triple Chocolate for this, but choose your favorite)
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3-1/2 cup Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven, prepare a 9x9 baking pan, and mix up brownie batter according to package instructions.

Mix in the almond extract and pour into prepared baking pan. In a microwave safe container, heat caramel sauce for about 10 seconds, or just until it is pour-able. Drizzle over the top of the brownie batter. Use a knife to "cut" the caramel down into the batter and create a fun swirly pattern on the top. 

Bake as per package instructions until a toothpick comes out clean (it may take a little longer because of the caramel).  Allow to cool before cutting and removing from pan.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Day 10 - Pecan Pralines

Check back for more recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies!

Pecan pralines are one of those amazing desserts that you have to try at least once in your lifetime. Crisp and buttery, melt-in-your-mouth goodness, and full of glorious, rich pecans. (Also note-they are the perfect food for stress eating, and go really well chopped up over ice cream!)

I recently had a serious craving for these little gems and realized that the last time I made them was about 4 years (and 3 moves) ago. I had to remedy that, but I couldn't find my recipe anywhere! 
It's amazing the kinds of things that just disappear when you move. I'm still wondering what happened to a box that had my favorite measuring cups and some beautiful hand blown vintage candlesticks. But that's a story for another day. I couldn't find my recipe, so I contacted my friend Jessica (who is amazing, and wonderful, and lives two time zones away!) and she (and her Louisiana roots) came through big time!

I kid you not, she sent me her grandma's recipe not 10 minutes later, even though it was practically the middle of the night!

Pecan Pralines

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 4 cups chopped pecans
Combine all ingredients, except pecans, in a 3 quart saucepan. Cook for 20 minutes. (I cooked mine on medium)

After boiling starts, stir occasionally. Add the pecans and cook the mixture until the liquid forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water. ("Soft ball" temperature is 240 F - I found it easier to actually use a candy thermometer and I cooked mine to 244 F.)

Stir well. Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper. Place a few sheets of newspaper under the waxed paper to allow pralines to harden. When cool, wrap in foil. (Do allow them to cool before eating. They're better that way)

This recipe comes from "The Eschete Seafood" cookbook from Houma Louisiana 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Day 9 - Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Check back for more recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies!

Do you remember these cookies? I fell in love with this shortbread last year and no matter how many other shortbreads I try, I just keep coming back to the combination of the browned butter and the almond extract.  So I had to revisit the dough this year! This time with that amazing caramel sauce

Caramel Thumbprint Cookies 
  • 1 c. salted butter
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 c. flour
In a medium sauce pan, melt 1 c. butter over medium heat.  Cook, stirring continuously, until butter turns brown and starts to smell nutty.  Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature (or put it in the fridge to firm up just a little bit. Make sure it's not funny!)

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the vanilla and almond extract, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Mix in the flour.

Form the dough into a rectangle and wrap in plastic.  Chill a few hours until firm (overnight is easiest).  Dough will be pretty solid.  Cut into 24 pieces.  Roll into balls and make an indentation in the top.  Chill dough again, 10-15 minutes or so.  You want dough to be firm when you bake it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12-14 minutes.  Allow to cool on baking sheet.

Once removing the cookies from the oven, scoop a small amount of caramel sauce into the "thumbprint." Allow cookies to cool and caramel to "crust over" before eating.  
Enjoy!  Makes 24 cookies.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Day 8 - Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Check back for more recipes from this year's 12 Days of Cookies!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling cookies)
  • Assorted Hershey Kisses

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined.  Stir in flour mixture.  Cover bowl and refrigerate dough at least an hour until firm.

Meanwhile unwrap the Hershey kisses, place in a bowl, and freeze until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place powdered sugar into a bowl; set aside.

Scoop dough into 1/2 Tablespoon balls, roll in powdered sugar, and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 11-13 minutes, until cookies crackle and begin to look "cakey."

Remove from oven and immediately press a frozen kiss into each cookie.  Remove cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely.  Don't touch until the chocolate is set and no longer shiny.

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